The gentle hilltops of the Nockberge are a haven for walkers and hikers. Beware, though, as they also have their pitfalls. As we see in the story of Moggei, the calf that would not have survived its first day if it were not for our Anna. But let’s back up a little...
Together with eighty other cattle of Bad Kleinkirchheim’s farmers, our eight cows spend the summer season grazing on the Wolitzen Alm pastures. It’s their natural habitat during the summer months, and pregnant cows also calve up there as they have done for centuries.
Anna, who knew that there was something “on the way,” set off one summer day to check the condition of the expectant cow. And she came just in time. It must have been a sixth sense that led Anna up there. The calf had already been born, but in a very unfavorable place, on a steep slope leading down to a small stream. It slid down the incline, and its spindly legs had no chance to gain hold before the calf was finally stopped by the stream. The mother cow had been unable to reach her calf because of the slope.
In these anxious hours, Anna stepped onto the scene, discovering the helpless calf and freeing it from its unfortunate situation. However, the attempts to have the cow nurse her calf failed. Clearly, the calf and cow were so unnerved by the accident that even the most natural things in the world had gone off the rails.
Fortunately, Anna was able to reach and alert brother Moritz and father Gerald by phone. On his shoulders, Moritz carried the newborn across the pasture to the car. Anna placed it by the goats and sheep in the barn and nursed the little calf with a bottle. Six times a day; first with colostrum, which is similar to the first stage of milk for calves, then with dry milk enriched with vitamins. The vet also came to the rescue, as the calf’s time in the cold stream had resulted in pneumonia. Two months later, the foundling, now named “Moggei,” had become a splendid little calf, following his “adopted mother” Anna everywhere. This is no surprise, given what we know about the formative impact of first contacts in a newborn’s life, as written about by Austria’s own Konrad Lorenz.
Moggei comes running when Anna calls, has begun to eat hay, still needs milk, and plays with goats and sheep – which he probably thinks are his siblings. Soon the calf will be reunited with his herd.
The name Moggei doesn’t have a direct translation. Anna and Moritz picked up the name in the Pinzgau region, during their time at tourism school in Bramberg. There, a busy young lad who was always on the go was referred to as a Moggei. In the case of our own Moggei, perhaps the term “mischief maker” captures the word best.
In any event, our Moggei at the Kirchheimerhof is growing and thriving wonderfully, and children and adults alike find the little calf absolutely delightful, especially when they hear about his story. He’s just another of the great tales from our Tausendundeinsassa Kirchheimerhof!